“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy said at a press conference on Sunday. “And I think President Trump, when you talk to him, doesn’t believe that either.”
Trump posted on his Truth Social platform on Saturday, writing that he was “ARRESTED TUESDAY” and calling on people to “PROTEST.” Despite the post from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his advisers said Trump’s team had no specific knowledge about the timing of an indictment.
Trump is calling for protests against what he claims to be his impending arrest
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) is investigating Trump’s role in the hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election. The case revolves around a $130,000 payment from Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney, to Daniels — and Bragg is investigating whether Trump broke campaign finance laws to repay Cohen for keeping Daniels quiet over allegations that she and Trump had a had an affair. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and described the payments as extortion.
Trump’s demand that people take to the streets to denounce a potential indictment fueled fears of violence and echoed the rhetoric he used when addressing his supporters shortly before a pro-Trump mob January 6, 2021 attacked the US Capitol. Five people were killed in the attack or in its aftermath, and 140 police officers were injured in the attack.
“No one should harm each other,” McCarthy said Sunday, in response to Trump’s call for protests. “We want peace there.”
While calling for peace, McCarthy also denounced the Trump investigation and accused Bragg of unfairly targeting the former president. “Layer after lawyer will tell you this is the weakest case there is, trying to turn a crime into a crime,” McCarthy said at the news conference.
Lawyers and advisers to Trump, who will become president again in 2024, have been expecting for days that he will be charged in the case.
What we know about the Donald Trump-Stormy Daniels payment case
Former Vice President Mike Pence said he was “stunned at the idea” of Bragg prioritizing an investigation into Trump “at a time when there is a crime boom in New York City”, calling the investigation “politically charged “. ”
Pence said that if Trump were indicted, his supporters “understand” that they must protest peacefully and in “a lawful manner.” He noted that it is their constitutional right to do so.
Josh Dawsey, Shayna Jacobs, Carol D. Leonnig, and Justine McDaniel contributed to this report.